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I Hit The Mommy Wall

March 14, 2011 13 comments

I must warn you that I am going to do what my serious writer friends call a stream of consciousness.  So if you’re not in the mood to hear the anger, frustration and sadness of a mother, wait for my next post.

My husband is on business travel.  When I am single-momming it, I run a tight schedule to avoid melt downs as much as possible.  By 6:30 my kids were bathed and my son was finished with his dinner.  My three-year old daughter was still fighting me on eating.  Now I know what you might say, don’t have battles over food, they will eat when they’re hungry.  Unfortunately, for my daughter that is bedtime.  If she doesn’t finish her dinner, she waits until after I put her to bed and starts the “I want a snack”.  If I say no, reminding her that she didn’t eat her dinner, I feel guilty that I am “starving” her and she throws a horrific temper tantrum, thus waking up her brother who has to get up for school.

So tonight, I insisted she eat most of her dinner.  It took an hour.  I was exhausted, frustrated and irritated.  I finally gave up when she had finished what would normally be enough, but I reminded her that if she didn’t finish her dinner there would be no snacks.

Fast forward to bed time.  My son went down fairly easy, as he is always does.  My daughter wanted to read me a book instead of me reading to her.  Yes, I know I should think it is adorable and creative of her, but I am tired.  I am still adjusting to the time change and have hours of work to do.  We finally get through books and I turn the lights out.  I go in the kitchen to get everything laid out for morning lunches, ensure we have the right library books to send back and change the laundry.  I then hear the not-so-delightful pitter patter of my adorable hellions feet.  She is hungry and wants a snack.  Of course.  I remind her of the rule and that she didn’t finish her dinner and tell her to go back to bed.

She throws herself down and starts the temper tantrum.  My daughter is the queen emperess of tantrums.  She has been known to go 90 minutes straight.  Ironically, I am often the one who can calm her down, without giving in.  I am usually the one who remains calm and acts like an adult. Usually…  I pick her up (with an incredibly sore back) and take her to her room.  I tell her if she keeps up the screaming, I will take a toy out of her room.  My son (whose bedroom is only a bathroom away from his sisters) comes out crying because she woke him up.  I tell him to go back to bed (with not enough sympathy).

This goes on until my son has been up five times and my family room is a fully stocked store of confiscated toys.  At this point my daughter has continued to come out of her room (we don’t have locks on our doors) and have her temper tantrum in the hallway.  I don’t want to give into her, because it sends the wrong message, but I also want my poor son to get some sleep.  I feel trapped and torn between being the consistent mom and being fair to my son.

I hit the mommy wall where I am exasperated and don’t know what to do next.  I threaten to spank her, even though I don’t think it is a useful tool with my kids.  It may be right for some kids, but it’s not right for me or my kids.  That being said, I have done it less than a handful of times when I have hit the mommy wall.  In my mind this makes it worse.  I am using spanking when I can’t think of a more constructive option.

My daughter is now kicking the floor and screaming, my son is up again.  I want to scream, cry and run away.  I consider calling my neighbor for moral support, but remind myself these are my kids and my job.  I think about calling my husband, but he’s in a different time zone and needs his rest.  I am so angry, I am standing there with clenched teeth.  I tell her, “this is your last warning, go in your room or I will spank you!” (Yes, I am yelling 5 feet from my son’s door).  She kicks the wall so I spank her

Now, my daughter has on a diaper.  But she still says ow.  I have mentioned before she is an actress.  I am quite sure she is more stunned than anything, but I still feel lousy and now she’s screaming even louder.  Clearly that is my punishment for resorting to spanking.  I walk into my room and ignore her.  I am so angry, so sad and so frustrated that I feel like separating us will be the only way to defuse the situation.  She follows me in screaming and I tell her, “Mommy is so mad right now.  You need to go in your room.  I do not want to see you right now.”  She doesn’t budge and moves closer, now kicking the chair I am sitting in. I turn towards her, “What do you want?!  Go in your room!” Through her screams she tells me she wants me to snuggle her.  This sentence diffuses the rage, but I don’t think its appropriate to just switch to lovey dovey mommy.  I explain that she has to stop crying, get in bed and no more screaming if she wants me to come in.

She does what I ask and I lay down in her bed.  She instantly cuddles up to me.  I feel like a monster.  I am the adult, I handled a tough situation poorly and she just wants the assurance that her mommy loves her.  Rage is gone.  Sadness and disappointment in myself enter.  I am a smart, level-headed woman.  I read parenting books, I have the nickname of hostage negotiator because I use my words to diffuse situations, but tonight I failed as a mommy.  I allowed myself to hit the wall.  Or, as I prefer to think of it, the wall came up and smacked me.

As I calmed down, I tried to think about what I could have done differently.  I still didn’t know what would have been a better solution to my daughter asking for the snack and her subsequent temper tantrum.  The only idea I had was to re-heat the left-overs and tell her she could eat her dinner or nothing, but I really don’t think she was hungry, she had a healthy well-balanced meal. Yes, I feel the need to share that to compensate for being a lousy mom tonight, so pat me on the back – I fed my kids baked chicken, brocoli and brown rice pasta before I turned into psycho-mommy.

The worst part is, I feel like I only hit the wall when my husband is traveling.  Does that mean I am not capable of being a parent on my own?  I hope it means that when we’re both home, we can call for reinforcements when one of us is at our boiling point.  I have friends who are single moms and friends whose husbands travel every week.  They have a better resistance to the mommy wall.

The best I can do is start over tomorrow, but tonight, I will go to sleep wishing I had done it differently.  But before I try to sleep, I will go kiss both of kids one more time, because I love them and that’s why being the best parent I can be matters.

Categories: Confessions, Parenting Tags:

10 Signs You Might Be Crazy

February 18, 2011 23 comments

I have never claimed to be balanced.  I never pretend to have it all figured out.  I admit that I am usually barely treading wine.  But through personal experience observation I have devised a checklist to determine if one is truly nuts…

  1. You think you can finally get caught up on your to-do list with one really productive day ever.
  2. You contemplate a puppy, another baby, a new car and a planning a vacation on the same day.
  3. You can’t find your cell phone, so you ask a friend to call you.  When you hear it ringing on your person, you ask the friend to hold their ear to your body to help figure out which pocket you put your phone in.
  4. You think that new Justin Bieber movie would be good for date night.
  5. You use your mom voice when talking to yourself.
  6. When you can’t find a sitter you convince yourself that the kids would be angels if you take them with you wine tasting.
  7. You ask your husband to get a vasectomy and hold on to baby gear just in case.
  8. You think the bright side of canceling a dinner date with your husband is that you get to clean behind the refrigerator.
  9. You think that your 6-year-old and 3-year-old are now mature enough to accompany you clothes shopping without causing a dismembered mannequin.
  10. You are planning to give up all alcohol and all sweets for Lent.

If you have experienced any of the above, pour yourself a glass of wine (or beer or chocolate milk) and join me at the Funny Farm.

Disclaimer: I am not a psychologist, tarot card reader, bartender or other professional.  This post is for entertainment only and should not be used to treat a mental health condition or ridicule its writer.  If you think you might really be crazy, seek professional help, then give them my address.

Let My Friends Help You

February 1, 2011 9 comments

One of the most amazing things about writing this blog is the other writers I have met either virtually or in real-life.  I cherish their friendships and talents.  I also love learning things from them that help make my life easier.  A few such lessons have stuck with me lately and I wanted to pass them on to you:

  • Coping with messesI am a bit of a neat freak.  I have OCD.  Sometimes when the kids make a mess I literally think steam is going to come out of my ears like a cartoon character.  Kelly over at Dances with Chaos takes pictures of her kids messes to laugh and blog about.  Even if you don’t write or blog, taking the picture to laugh about (or blackmail your kids with) really helps bring the situation down from DEFCON 1. 
  • Know your role.  Blessing over at Working Mom Journal talks about our role of inspiring our children.  What a great reminder of thinking past homework and toothbrush enforcer.  Blessing shares 9 elements of how to inspire your children.
  • Tools to get you through the work day. Rene over at Grown Up for Real shared with her readers the Little Pink Book, career wisdom for women.  It’s short articles and videos for all of you, who like me, need career and life-enhancing tools.
  • If all else fails, just keeping up is a good day! Angie over at The Little Mumma reminds us that parenting is a bit like Groundhog Day and our accomplishments from yesterday don’t count for today, so just keeping up is great!

Do you have a helpful tip or sage advice?  I am listening and always in need of wisdom!

Categories: Life, Parenting, Working Tags: ,

Why I Eat Cookies

January 31, 2011 13 comments

Today has been a roller coaster!  I was scheduled to be on a plane right now headed for another business trip.  Then, an hour before I was due to leave for the airport, my meeting and trip were rescheduled. 

I am thrilled to stay home because I just got back from a week-long trip on Friday.  It was long days of meetings and social events in the evenings.  By 2:00 every day, I was ready for a nap – so I had a cookie instead. 

Once home, I was still tired and didn’t feel like I had enough time this weekend to get everything done.  I ran around until I was close to sleeping standing up – so I ate cookies to keep going.  Sugar is my caffeine.  By last night I had accomplished all I could and enjoyed a bottle (yes, a bottle) of wine, which then affected my judgment so I ate another bag of cookies.

When I got up this morning, I was melancholy about my trip.  I had been home less than 72 hours and needed more time with my husband.  What you’re expecting me to say next is “and I really needed more time with my kids”.

Except I don’t. 

From the moment I walked in the door on Friday, my little pumpkins were lunatics.  They set new temper tantrum records.  My husband was so sweet to share with me that they were great until I came home…  It is so odd, I was sad to part with them this morning, I gave them extra hugs and kisses and truly didn’t want to leave.  But now that I get to stay home, I would like to hide in my office, eat cookies and read a book.  What award do I win for that?

But I am congratulating myself on knowing where I am at and understanding what I need.  I need cookies.  I need rest.  I need cuddling with my kids.  I just don’t want the other stuff like discipline, homework, laundry and bedtime rituals.  Hmmm… I think the business trip might be more restful than parenting…

So I have decided today is I eat cookies day (and it is clearly not ‘I am a literary genius’ day).  You are welcome to join in the celebration.  This is guilt free indulgence.  Will I eat cookies in lieu if my parenting duties? No.  But will the cookies make the duties easier? You betcha!

Next time I will make this brief, I’ll quickly tell you about the isolated times when I don’t eat cookies.

What do you do to take care of yourself?  How do you cope on crazy days?



But Officer, She’s Only Three…

January 18, 2011 14 comments
We had dinner with some friends the other evening.  After dinner, the adults were enjoying a glass of wine downstairs and the kids were upstairs playing.  As we were sitting downstairs, we heard the phone ring once and stop, we didn’t think much of it.
A short time later, I saw our host on the phone.  This is what I heard:

“I’m sorry, what?!”

“You’re kidding!”

“We have young kids playing upstairs, but everything is fine”

“No, the sheriff won’t be necessary.  We apologize for the inconvenience.”

He hung up the phone, broke into laughter, looked at me and said, “your girl called the cops.”  Now, our host is a kidder and loves my daughter, but will show that love through playfully giving her hard time.  “Bullsh*t,” I claimed, “she doesn’t know how to dial 911.  So unless you have one of those speed dial 911 buttons, I know you’re full of it.” I explained.

“I’m not kidding.  She talked to them and hung up.  They called back and I let them know the sheriff wasn’t necessary.”

He was laughing so I thought he was kidding until the sheriff walked up to the door.

Fortunately, the sheriff had kids and the whole matter was cleared up quickly.  What went down that night is an absolute prediction of the future:

My son was the brains of the operation.  He knew how to dial 911.  He picked up what he thought was a fake phone and dialed.  When he realized the phone was real, he knew it was trouble, so he found himself a patsy, his three-year-old sister.  My little diva loves the drama and jumped at the chance to play the damsel in distress and also had absolutely no concern for the consequences.  When she got caught, she wasn’t crying for fear of spending a life in stripes, she was pissed that we failed to see her star talent and ended her performance.  But my girl is quick on her feet, she switched to the victim.  She pleaded in a shaky voice, “Mommy, I want to go home.  I am so tired.  Please put me in the car RIGHT NOW,” in between her tears.  She will be a Hollywood star.

My son the diplomatic boy scout admitted he made the call, explained it wasn’t his fault since he thought the phone (that had a cord connected  to it and dial tone) was fake.  He also quickly pointed out that he did not talk to the police.  Yep, my son will come up with some great ideas, that he will have someone else execute.  He is destined for management and with his parents’ OCD and strong opinions, likely the CEO.

Thank you to the sheriff for his quick response and better preparing me for the future!

My daughter's costume for a future starring role.

Categories: Humor, Parenting Tags: ,

How I Am Going to Get Smart

January 11, 2011 24 comments

I am used to be smart.

I have never been a news junkie, but I at least was up on the world and could follow an adult conversation on current events.

Then I had kids.

Between my full-time, job, my two cherubs and all that those two worlds require, I have run out of news time.  Well that’s kind of a lie.  My husband has the same life as me, parenting included because he’s my better half.  But, he still reads the paper, watches the news and reads internet news every day.  It is embarrassing to be with co-workers and not have any idea what they are talking about.  People assume because I work and have adult conversations, I am current.  No way.  At work I discuss work or I get updates on people’s families, lives, etc. 

So what am I doing while my husband keeps up on current events?  Facebook, Twitter and blogging.  Or reading, but I bounce between literary masterpieces and vampire books.  Hmmm… as I think through my recent reads, there has been more smut than ‘noble’ books.

But I really want to know some of what’s going on the world.  The news is depressing day in and day out and I get sad thinking about what my grandkids and beyond might inherit, but I really do want to be more aware.

And I have a solution…

One of my wisest, and up-to speed friends (why does she keep me around) reads “The Week” and turned me onto it.  She even gave me a subscription.  (Is she trying to tell me something?)  My first issue came on Friday and I read it cover to cover on Sunday in between breaking up fights and by allowing extra Wii time.  It was great!  Before I go on and on, I must make it clear.  I have no affiliation to this publication, I am not being paid to endorse it, nor do they have any idea who I am. – For some reason I don’t make the top of their Rolodex (Rolodex? Who says that these days?) Ahem.  They don’t follow me or seek my editorial contributions.

Back to my free endorsement – it contains well-organized, straight-forward summaries of what’s going on in the world.  For big issues they summarize multiple perspectives and give credit to the original source.  Do you know what this means?!  I can cite the Washington Post, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal (just to name a few) all in one decade.

I am on my way to being sounding like a smarty-pants!

Does this mean you’ll see some extra intelligence in this blog?  Not likely.  I am exhausted and can’t remember any of those brainy quotes!

What do you do to keep up on the world and still make time for YOUR world?

Escalator Gymnastics Saved My Son’s Life

January 7, 2011 26 comments

I have consumed the obligatory glasses of wine to recover from the adrenaline rushes of yesterday.  But I did promise to share the story of my escalator gymnastics…

When my son was three years old and my daughter was three months old, we planned a trip to Disneyworld with another family.  As we headed towards security, my husband went into frequent flier mode.  You put my  best friend and better half in an airport and he’s all business, even on a trip for pleasure.  We had decided he would be in charge of my son and I would take the baby (who was strapped to my chest) and the diaper back pack.  To reach security in our airport, you must go up an escalator.  My husband was two car lengths ahead of me as we approached the escalators.  With potentially crippling fear, I realized that while my husband was stepping onto the escalator, my son, wearing a toy-filled backpack, was about 6 steps behind him.  I screamed to my husband to take our son’s hand, but it was too late.  My sweet boy, in an attempt to keep up with daddy, tried to step onto the escalator, by himself, for the first time. 

I could see him hesitate and waver.  All of my internal alarms went off and time slowed to a crawl.  My husband looked like a statue and I knew he was merely a false sense of help at that moment.  As the steps started to ascend, I could see that my sweet pumpkin’s feet were on the very edge of a step and he was teetering.  All that went through my head was that he was going backwards and his head was going to smack the metal grates.

I sprinted. I dove.  I think God may have picked me up and carried me, it was all a blur.  I threw myself forward with my right hand extended and caught my son’s head two inches above the grates.  But it’s not over yet, remember my baby strapped to my chest?

I knew that my forward momentum would send her face first into the same predicament.  While maintaining the hold on my son’s precious head, I kicked my legs out from under me and threw myself backwards.  I put up my left arm to block my daughter’s head as I slammed against the side of the STILL MOVING ESCALATOR.  As I fell backwards the diaper backpack kept my head from a similar fate that I had just avoided for my son.  My girlfriend rushed up behind me and held my head up as I rode up the escalator on my back, legs in the air, baby strapped to my chest, holding my son’s head above menacing metal spikes.

I am staring at my statue, I mean my husband, and see a flash out of the corner of my eye.  A man behind my girlfriend dropped his bag, sprinted the stairs, ran down the escalator, pushed past my frozen husband and pulled my children and I up. 

The next few seconds are a blur but it seems airport personnel were there in an instant.  They had stopped the escalator (a little late fellas) and had summoned the paramedics.  (Taking a breath because after three years I still choke up when I say or write paramedics.) 

They responded quickly to check me and my children out.  I told them my son was fine, I had caught him, but my daughter was crying and had a small bruise on her forehead.  Although my arm took most of her impact, she did hit the glass.  “Ma’am, we’re going to check you all out, but we have an ambulance waiting downstairs.”  At this point, I am wondering if I did the right thing.  I didn’t see what other choice I had at that moment.  I told the paramedics, “We’re on a way to Disneyworld, but if you have the slightest hesitation, we are getting in that ambulance”.

Fortunately, everyone checked out fine.  My daughter had stopped crying and showed no signs of trauma and my son and I had escaped even a scratch.  We were cleared to fly.  As we walked through the terminal, people were pointing at me and whispering. 

I was whispering too, “Thank you God”.

A Mama Bear Kind of Day

January 6, 2011 14 comments

I have said before that I am the classic, over-protective, mama bear.  I had Mama Bear feelings three times today before 10:00 am! 

Mama Bear #1:

My son woke us up at 5:45 this morning because he had had a nightmare. 

He failed to mention that he had already filled his diaper and subsequently pee’d through the full diaper, soaking my husband and his side of the bed (thank God for California Kings – my side was dry and warm!).  In disgust, my husband got up, changed my son, put him in bed next to me and got ready for the day (45 minutes early).  But I digress…

My son couldn’t go back to sleep because he was so scared from his nightmare, his little heart was racing.  (I know because we had to snuggle tight to avoid the pee.)  He started asking me questions about bad guys and home security.  I ended up turning on the light and talking with my son for forty-five minutes about ‘what-ifs’ and why he is safe.  He wanted me to get his dad, because he was worried I was too small to defeat a bad guy.  I tried to explain without showing my over-dramatic true colors that I would keep him safe at all costs.  I explained that bad guys have no interest in us, we have an alarm system, etc, etc.  But I was getting worked up being asked questions like, “What if a bad guy came in with a gun and tried to take Sissy or I?”  What I really wanted to say is that if somebody came in this house that shouldn’t, I would kill them.  Did you see the period?  Kill them. Period.  Even if they were bigger and had a gun, I would win because you always bet on the crazy mama bear!

Mama Bear #2:

After getting my son safely off to school, I was driving my daughter to preschool.  We literally live within a mile of the school and could walk if it wasn’t so damn cold this morning.  (Who am I kidding, I always drive!)  As I was going straight, somebody turned left in front of me.  I had to SLAM on my brakes with my sweet, precious girl in the car! Once I realized that, by the grace of God, we had stopped (I truly don’t know how I brought my husbands huge truck to a stop that fast!) I was relieved… and pissed!  What kind of moron makes a left turn without slowing down, or looking both ways!  I wanted to yell at her, but I settled for a long honk.  My little girl is too young to witness road rage. 

However, when I dropped her off at school my heart was still racing and my voice cracked when I tried to tell the story.  You all know that feeling… I get chills just writing about it.

Mama Bear #3:

After dropping my daughter off at preschool, I went to the gym.  I hoped to run off the adrenaline pumping through my veins.  I had a nice run and on my way home noticed that our neighbor’s nanny’s car was parked in front of their house.  Except, they had fired that nanny yesterday

Now maybe, I was already mentally in the wrong place with the bad guy talk and near collision, but I started worrying about disgruntled employees and my neighbor’s sweet little girl inside.  I instantly pulled my car over.  But I didn’t jump out of my car and barge in the front door.  No, I am balanced and mature, but the thought occurred to me.  I texted my neighbor at work to make sure the nanny was supposed to be there, she confirmed that while they gave her notice yesterday, her last day was today.  I took yet another deep breath and went home.

I think I need some serious wine and chocolate to counteract the adrenaline from today!

Are you a mama or papa bear type?  Do you mentally prepare for the worst in situations?  Have you, like me, mapped out your exit strategies with the kids if an intruder got into the house?  Have you performed acts of heroism for the sake of your children? Some other time I will tell you about my escalator gymnastics that saved my son’s life…

Bottom line, am I crazy or a normal mama?

My protective side...

Categories: Parenting Tags: ,

What I’ll Miss When My Kids Grow Up

January 4, 2011 16 comments

I was exhausted last night.  I did another marathon post-bedtime poop party with my daughter.  I swear she poops at will and her will is AFTER I have put her to bed.  She pulls the poop card to get out of bed and hang out.  She sits on the potty for 30 minutes and somehow pulls poop out of her ass little touchy literally and figuratively.  It doesn’t matter if she has pooped twice already during the day.  Come 8:30 pm, she waltzes in for her poop party.  Did I mention she likes me to hold her hands to help “push the big poop out”. (I know, I am a sucker).  So I sit, on the bathroom floor, holding my daughter’s hands while she talks to me, gets me to sing “There’s a Whole In My Bucket” and pushes out the poop.

Last night nearly killed me.  I was tired, had a horrible headache and today is the first day back to work and school.  As I sat there fuming, she bent over and kissed my forehead.  In that moment, I pulled it together and reminded myself that despite the trials of parenthood, there are some amazing parts too.  

I am writing myself a list of the things I will miss when my kids are all grown up, so that I don’t take these precious moments for granted.   It is my intent to refer to this list when I am tempted to daydream about fast-forwarding to the part where they are grown up and out of the house.

Here’s a start:

  • Falling asleep cuddled up with them
  • Waking up to kisses on my nose
  • Receiving hugs that nearly knock me over
  • Spontaneous and surprise art projects
  • Hearing the giggles from the other room when they are playing well together
  • Hearing them running through the hall to come see me when they get home from school
  • “I love you Mommy”
  • “Mommy, will you snuggle me?”
  • Watching their excitement at Christmas
  • Seeing them accomplish a goal for the first time – waterskiing, a soccer goal, a somersault
  • Seeing their eyes light up when something delights them
  • Cute mispronunciation of words
  • Eskimo kisses
  • Butterfly kisses

Clearly, this list could go on forever.  Just starting this list has put me back in my zen mommy place.  It’s only breakfast, so who knows how long it will last, but I can always work on this list some more if when they dump their cereal on the floor.

What will you miss?

The (Off-Balance) Day Before Christmas

December 24, 2010 4 comments
Twas the day before Christmas when all through the house,
Not a clean spot could be found, not even an ounce.
 
The stockings were hung by the chimney with haste,
In hopes that I’d buy stuff before it’s too late.
 
With me in my flannels and Chris in his boxers,
We were sure not an ad for Gap or Brooks Brothers.
 
When what to my wandering mind should appear?
The realization that Christmas is near!
 
There were presents to wrap and groceries to buy.
Would I be done in time? Not sure.  No lie.
 
Eight people for dinner, do we have enough wine?
I ran out of butter and must stand in line.
 
The children were plotting all smug under their beds.
In hopes of ensuring I would snap, lose my head.
 
They bickered and fought, Santa threats had gone stale.
Should I send their gifts back through priority mail?
 
I must clean, wrap and cook all day and all night.
With enough caffeine and yelling, it’ll be alright.
 
When I pull off Martha Stewart Christmas you’ll know.
Despite all the chaos, I put on a hell of a show!
 
So as you scurry and prep, know you’re not the only one.
Merry Christmas to you and I hope you have fun!
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